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How About A May Update… Near The End Of May

You can tell the weather is warming up… Lawn mowers are roaring, birds are chirping, more hitters are hitting homers, and my updates are more spread apart. I’ve been slacking in the update department. And now it’s almost the end of May and you are finally getting the announcement of the April Winner.

Well, that April Winner was Keep Trying. Their team ended up hitting 46 homers in the month of April (and a few days in March)… 46!!! That is the most any team has ever hit in a single month since we have gone to monthly payouts. The previous record was 45 in May of 2015. Followed by 43 as the 2nd most, which is incredible because there were 5 total teams (including the winner) that hit 43 or more this April.

Each of those teams had either Yelich in Group C or Bellinger in Group B. None of the Top-5 teams had both. There are 2 teams that own both of the MLB HR “leaders”, Too High? and Fran-tastic Five. Both sit comfortably in the top-20, one in the top-10.

Several teams have tried to catch on to the early fire that Pete Alonso sparked. He is available as a write-in and currently leads Group E with 16 homers (although, no team has credit for all 16 of them).

The month of May seems to have cooled off some of the hot starts by certain players. But one thing hasn’t changed, Group A is still a full blown Hospital wing. Judge is still on the IL, Stanton just started a rehab assignment, Khris Davis is headed to the IL tonight, and Nelson Cruz is on the IL. If you didn’t select one of those players, consider yourself lucky and cross your fingers that Group A is done with the injury bug.

The current leader in the month of May is Claim Crushers with 30 homers. They currently sit in the top-5 overall standings as well. Just behind them in May and the Overall standings is The 20 Somethings Have It. They have 26 in the month of May and sit in 5th in the Overall Standings. Such a clever name and riding the wave of young players with an average team age of 26. In case you didn’t know, they say that hitters break out at 27yrs old. Chicks Dig The Long Ball is just in front of The 20 Somethings Have It and it may lead to a domestic disbute depending on how the month ends. And in 2nd for the month of May thus far is I found myself a homer, a first time participant and making a run at a monthly payout.

Speaking of payouts, I have finalized the payout structure again for 2019. Head over to the Rules page to check it out. I will flight the payouts again to make the lengthy season fun for all, but it still pays to finish in the top-10.

That’s all for now. I’ll post another one shortly about fun things that happened in the past month of baseball. Some pretty good links coming your way, so be on the lookout.

Eye’m Back To Full Strength

(And any college hockey fan chants back: “That’s Debatable!”)

It’s crazy how fast living organisms can heal (not just limited to the Human body). Any eye gauge from my son left me completely useless for 2 days, followed by 2 days of a patch and blurred vision, followed by 2 days of sunglasses for light sensitivity, and now here I am, finally getting around to a Home Run Derby update! (Because I’m definitely not going outside to shovel the snow)

Because I’ve been laid up for a week, my news is going to be up to 2 weeks old, so you may have heard some of this by now. But here it goes!

Interesting Links for the end of April:

  • Is Yelich for Realz?!?! – Yelich did it! He has tied the record for most home runs in the first month of the season with 14! He ties Albert Pujols and Alex Rodriguez (and now Cody Bellinger who also hit his 14th today). That’s pretty good company. Some may ask, why do teams keep pitching to him??? Well, I don’t know why, but as a Brewer fan, I sure am glad they continue to. In fact, for at least a little while, Yelich officially owned the Cardinals, according to Wikipedia (which we ALL know is a reliable source for facts). Unfortunately his HR outbreak in April has made my C-group completely lopsided.
  • Tiger is also back! – I warned you my news might be old. What you may not have known is that I’m an avid golfer (near a scratch golfer in my prime). And Tiger came into the professional golf world during my childhood era (I watched him at the ’96 GMO where he had his first professional hole-in-one), which brought more kids out to the golf course than ever before. Seeing him win a Major tournament again brought back a bunch of memories of his dominance. Hopefully it creates a spark for golf again that gets the sport back into the younger generations.
  • Wisconsin gambler wins $1.2Million on Tiger – Sorry, not baseball related. But interesting sports related story none-the-less. A man from Wisconsin, who never has placed a sports bet in his life, flew to Las Vegas before the Masters. Placed $85k on Tiger to win the masters. And we all know that that happened, so this man collected the 16:1 odds paycheck of $1.4Million. I’d say it’s been a pretty good month for gamblers in Wisconsin.
  • Joey Votto finally succeeded in popping out to 1B – It took 6,828 career at-bats in the MLB, but Joey Votto finally did something he had never done before… He popped out to the first baseman. That stat is unbelievable. How can anyone go almost 7000 at-bats without popping out to every position?!?!
  • What type of vanity does Blake Snell own?! – Blake Snell (who just got back from the 10day IL) was apparently moving a bathroom vanity after taking a shower and the bottom pedestal, made of granite, fell on his foot breaking his toe. It’s nice to know that even sports stars have freak accidents like us normal folk (now I don’t feel so bad about my eye gouge).
  • Carlos Zambrano is making a comeback!!! – I hope the big guy makes it back to the Majors. How can we not look forward to more dugout tantrums. WARNING: All Gatorade dispensers better be on high alert for this dangerous and armed man.
  • Yu Darvish plays pinball – Darvish threw a fastball that got a little too far inside. It then hit the batter, ricocheted and hit the catcher, and then hit the ump. Almost as rare as picking up a 7-10 split.
  • The BlueJays lost track of the count – And it lead to the weirdest pickoff you may see in 2019. After Drury got ball 3 on a 2-2 count, he thought he had drawn a walk and started heading towards first base. That lead to Teoscar Hernandez to start heading for second base. Well, it wasn’t long before they figured out their mistakes but it was too late for Teoscar to get back to first. I think Drury deserves an assist for that PO.
  • And finally, Vlad Jr has made his debut – Thanks to all the MLB service time manipulations, Vlad Jr. was stuck in the minor leagues. But he has finally been freed. And I’ve never seen a prospect get a standing ovation for 1 AB, let alone every AB in his first MLB game. It gave me goosebumps watching him get his first hit with his old man watching. It was only earlier that day that his dad gave him an amazing message for his son which sent goosebumps down baseball fans/fathers everywhere.

Week (3 and) 4 Kings of Cork Recap:

  • It’s fun seeing a couple newbies near the top of the leader board. I hope it gets them hooked. But it’s also great to see some ‘originals’ finally near the top. I’m looking at you Keep Trying, Maybe This Year, FRANtastic Five!, Not sure why I bother, Too High?, and Nana and me. These teams have not performed the best in the past few seasons, but they have stuck with it and this may be their year (channel your inner Cubs Fan with that saying).
  • We also have 2 past time champs just lurking outside the top-10 (still 10 homers behind the leader though). The Flying Aces (2016) and Mayer’s Mashers (2013) are doing their best to stay in the race to be the first repeat champion.
  • For the first time that I can recall… ever… we had a team hit 5 homers. Now the 5 homers part isn’t that rare. I believe we have had more than 5 by a team in a single day before. No, what made this rare was that every single player on their team hit a home run. Yes, Halfy’s Wallbangers had their Group A, B, C, D, and E players all hit a home run yesterday, April 27th. That is a feat in itself but helped propel them into the top-10 as well.
  • Week 3 (April 14 – 20) was still early enough to have some significant movement in the standings in just days. The Flying Aces showed its possible to jump 70+ places in a week. 72 in fact, thanks to 20 homers in 7 days. No thanks to their top-2 picks which still have 0 homers. But the bottom of their lineup with Yelich, Ozuna, and Rosario are carrying the 2016 champ towards the top. We also had 3 teams move 40+ places (Let’s play two, JB’s Monster Mash, and Big Time Timmy Jim). And another 9 teams move 30+ positions.
  • BUT, the major movement seems to have subsided in week 4 where we only had 5 teams move more than 20+ positions in the standings. Only one team topped the 30 spot jump which was Homer’s Homers with a jump of 36 positions from 96th to 60th. I’m sure Arenado waking up helped along with Story and Suarez finding their home run stick again in 2019. The other 4 teams: Let’s Play 2 and Let’s Play Two both moved 24 spots with 9 home runs last week (what are the odds of those two teams doing that?!?! They only have Arenado and their team names in common), There’s Always Next Year moved 23 spots with 8 homers, and the Crazy Cat Lady jumped 21 positions with 8 home runs.

It seems like the home runs have slowed down in week 4. Maybe the pitchers are finally finding their groove? Maybe the MLB dialed back on their juiced balls? Maybe hitters have shown their new holes in their swings for 2019? Whatever it is, I’m hoping it doesn’t hit my team for week 5.

Category: Baseball News, Baseball Stories, Home Run Derby  Comments off

Group Selection Statistics 2019

What is going on with the MLB in 2019?!?! The Rays are 9-3 leading the AL East (they have the lowest payroll in 2019) and the Red Sox (defending WS champions) are on the bottom at 3-9. The Mariners are supposed to be rebuilding in 2019 but are 13-2 and have hit the most Home Runs by any team in the first 12 games of the season: 32. And they now own the MLB record for opening a season with 15 straight games with a homer. The Dodgers tried to match them when they opened the season with at least one home run in their first 10 games. And Khris Davis already has 9 homers. I don’t think we have to worry about a home run drought in 2019.

Here are things I have found interesting since the beginning of the season:

Now, moving on to our regularly scheduled programming: Who Chose Who in this year’s Home Run Derby!

Group A
The only surprise from this group is how evenly spread out the choices were. I mean, there were only 4 players to get selected by non-double digit numbers. And they were low totals (1 or 2 people). That tells me that there is no real favorite this year unlike years past where 50+ teams would choose Albert Pujols. Then it was Jose Bautista. But there was no obvious choice and it’s too bad that the man mad of glass, Giancarlo, is already injured. I didn’t think he would play all season, but I didn’t expect him to go down within a week of the season starting. And now Trout is out with a groin strain for an unknown period of time. That’s 48 teams without an A-player for a while. Of the Group A players selected, there are 2 with goose eggs still. No surprise that one is Gaincarlo, but the other is newly paid Arenado. I thought the air was thin in Denver, but the ball hasn’t been flying out for him this year. There is plenty of time, so don’t freak out… yet.

Group A
Player Selected
Giancarlo Stanton 26
Mike Trout 22
Khris Davis 19
Aaron Judge/JD Martinez 13
Nolan Arenado 12
Nelson Cruz/Joey Gallo 2
Rhys Hoskins/Max Muncy 1
Josh Donaldson/Edwin Encarnacion 0

Group B
The next couple groups are where things get weird. For the first time that I can remember, group B has 3 players selected in double digits. And there are 7 out of 18 players that got 0 selections (Bruce, C. Davis, Dozier, Duvall, Frazier, Lindor, Sano). And one of them, Jay Bruce has the most homers in the group at 7 (tied with Bellinger). Harper is the clear favorite with the group. I just don’t think he stays healthy and he has only hit more than 30 homers twice. Goldy is proving to be a nice bounce back candidate with 6 homers already. It will be interesting to see if the year is won or lost with group B. The 6 teams with Bellinger could all finish in the top 10 if the 3 popular choices don’t perform.

Group B
Player Selected
Bryce Harper 37
Paul Goldschmidt 20
Trevor Story 19
Jose Ramirez 7
Manny Machado/Cody Bellinger/Jesus Aguilar 6
Travis Shaw 4
Kyle Schwarber 3
Justin Upton 2
Matt Olson 1

Group C
Another group oddity where over half of the managers chose 1 of 4 players out of 34 selections. The reigning NL MVP was the most popular choice, but even being a Brewer fan, I don’t believe he hits 30 HR this year. I hope he proves me wrong and the Brewers make the playoffs again, but his August and September in 2018 were unreal. He had me questioning the Group C position after homering in the first 4 Brewer games, but he has been quiet from the home run side of things since then. Blackmon is another Colorado hitter yet to hit a homer and he is one of the 4 popular choices. Group C tends to be the selection that a player breaks out and carries 1-2 teams to the top of the standings. Unfortunately, it won’t be due to the current leader of group C, Gary Sanchez, who has 6 homers (thanks to 3 in 1 game) since no manager selected him.

Group C
Player Selected
Christian Yelich 23
Mookie Betts 18
Kris Bryant 13
Charlie Blackmon 11
Mike Moustakas 9
Ronald Acuna 8
Eugenio Suarez 6
Anthony Rizzo/Jose Abreu 4
Javier Baez 3
Freddie Freeman/Randal Grichuk/
Juan Soto/Joey Votto
2
Michael Conforto/Hunter Renfroe/
Domingo Santana/George Springer
1

Group D
And again, a group where half of the managers chose 1 of 3 players out of 35 choices. Alex Bregman got paid this off-season, but he is sitting on a single homer for 29 managers. Matt Carpenter turned around an AWFUL April/May of 2018 to dominate the rest of the 2018 season. He’s starting slow again in 2019, so maybe there will be a bit of Deja-Vu. Yasiel Puig is on a new team (and already suspended for fighting) but has yet to hit a home run. Mitch Moreland leads the group with 5 homers but got 0 selections. The 2nd best in Group D is a veteran: Adam Jones. He got signed about 3 weeks before the season started. Now he is raking for the D-Backs with 4 homers in 48 ABs. Of the 35 choices, 14 had 0 selections. Not surprising due to most of them being injured or unsigned. I just never know in January who will be signed, on a starting lineup, or on the injured list. So some groups end up with fewer ‘available’ choices once the season begins.

Group D
Player Selected
Alex Bregman 27
Matt Carpenter 19
Yasiel Puig 13
Marcell Ozuna 7
CJ Cron/Paul Dejong 5
Miguel Cabrera/Adam Jones 4
Matt Adams/Ryan Braun/Robinson Cano/
Carlos Correa/Rougned Odor/Carlos Santana
3
Matt Davidson/Gleyber Torres 2
Rafael Devers/Maikel Franco/
Ryon Healy/Albert Pujols/Ryan Zimmerman
1

Group E
My favorite group! I love group E. A player will come out of nowhere and outperform everyone but maybe a Group A player. One year it was Jose Bautista. Another year it was Trevor Story. Last year it was Christian Yelich and Matt Carpenter at 36HR (Aguilar had 35HR in Group E last year). So who will it be in 2019?! It’s rarely ever a write-in. Which isn’t good news for 17 teams that chose to go off the available list. This year there were more ‘common’ write-ins than in years past. What I mean is that multiple write-ins had 4 managers write them in: David Dahl, Franmil Reyes, and Eloy Jimenez. One very interesting write-in was Luke Voit from the Yankees. He already has 4 homers which is 2nd most only behind Trey Mancini who has 6 (yes, 2 managers chose Mancini!). Only one player had double digit selections. Eddie Rosario who was a breakout player in 2018 got 12 selections. Even more remarkable is that there were only 11 out of 46 players who received 0 selections. That’s fewer than Group D with even more players to choose from. I can’t wait until Group E is won by someone not currently on the list, because it usually ends up that way.

Group E
Player Selected
Eddie Rosario 12
Miguel Andujar/Matt Chapman 9
Daniel Murphy 7
Andrew McCutchen 6
Yasmani Grandal 5
Teoscar Hernandez/Stephen Piscotty/
David Dahl/Franmil Reyes/Eloy Jimenez
4
Nick Castellanos/Enrique Hernandez/Evan Longoria/
David Peralta/Anthony Rendon/Justin Turner
3
Willson Contreras/Aaron Hicks/
Trey Mancini/Scott Schebler/Corey Seager
2
Josh Bell/Asdrubal Cabrera/Eduardo Escobar/
Scooter Gennett/Alex Gordon/Mitch Haniger/
Nomar Mazara/Troy Tulowitzki/Max Kepler/
Luke Voit/Ryan McMahon/DJ LeMahieu
1

So, there you have it. The 2019 selection statistics. There were 0 duplicate team selections this year which isn’t unusual, but I do find it surprising with how many ‘common’ choices were chosen in 4 of the groups. I thought there would be at least 1 duplicate team.

Finally, just keep an eye on the Injured List at the bottom of the standings. If your player hits 21 consecutive days without a plate appearance, just send me an email if you would like to use your 1-time trade for the 2019 season. I try to remind teams, but I don’t always get out in front of the trade availability date.

Good Luck!

2019 Has Started Like 2018 Ended

Welcome Back to Real Baseball!!! The snow is gone (for most of us). The weather is warming up (well, it’s warmer than it was). And baseball is back on the television. As usual, I spent Opening Day watching the chaos. You may ask, ‘Which Opening Day are you talking about’. Yes, 2019 technically started a week ago. And, Yes… I did wake up at 4am to watch the Japan Series where Oakland and Seattle put on a great opening 2 game series. K-hris Davis continued to Mash like it was 2018. The only down side of the Japan Series was watching Matt Olson go down due to a hand fracture that needed surgery. But back to Opening Day. The “REAL” Opening Day. I love what MLB baseball has done the past couple years. All teams play on Day 1, and All teams play game 162 on the same day to end the season. Talk about baseball overload!!!

Let’s talk about some of the highlights you may have missed or want to re-live before I give you the 2019 HR Derby breakdown.

  • Yelich is playing like its the 2nd half of 2018 – Christian Yelich is the first MVP to hit a home run in the first 4 games the season after winning MVP honors. He’s the 6th player to do it regardless of the previous season. I’ll be honest, I don’t think he hits 30 homers this season. He hit 21 in Aug/Sept last season. That’s the streak he is riding. He’s in Group C because I do all my groupings based on historical statistics. Not just 1 season. But he is on pace for 162 homers and his way to Group A in 2020. And 23 of you don’t care what my stats say. You have him hitting many more than 30 all the way to the top of the standings.
  • Khris Davis is going to lead the league in homers and hit 0.247 for the 5th straight season – Or that’s what he is making it look like after the first weekend. To be fair, he has played 2 more games than most other players, but he still shares the league lead in homers with 4. He’s an ex-Brewer so it’s nice to see him preform so well, but I can’t help but think what it would look like to have him back in the Brewer lineup the past few years. Oh that’s right, the NL doesn’t have a DH. Down with the DH!!! But for 19 of you, you are loving the A’s DH. He’s really the only one in Group A even performing after the first weekend. In fact, 73 other managers don’t even have a home run from Group A yet. Me included.
  • Players got paid prior to 2019 – We all knew that Harper and Machado were getting big paychecks, but no one saw Newton’s Third Law coming. The rest of MLB management decided to use this slow offseason as leverage to lock up a lot of you players… 22 of you have Trout, the 12-year, $430Million man (Last week’s Powerball winner is the only one that can laugh at that), Chris Sale is getting $145Mil over 5 years, DeGrom got 5 years at $138Mil, Goldy gets $130Mil over 5 years (20 picks from Group C), Bregman got 6 years at $100Mil (along with 27 picks from Group D), Eloy Jimenez hadn’t even played in the Majors and he got $43Mil over 6 years (he also got picked by 4 HR Derby managers). It sounds like Bogaerts is about to get a pay day as well after 3 days into the season. This is very, very good for baseball. As a fan, I was tired of seeing overpaid free agency. What was worse was when players weren’t getting paid at all (really, $10Mil for Moose… that’s crazy) and the best are left watching from home (Kimbrel and Keuchel remain unsigned). Free Agency might be boring as the years roll on, but the trades should be better and hopefully games become more affordable since fans don’t have to pay for Pujols type contracts.
  • The Dodgers broke an opening day home run record with 8 – You read that correctly. Eight homers in a single day, on Opening Day = Another Home Run record broken in 2019 already. Six different players pitched in, including Muncy from Group A (Only 1 happy HR Derby Manager), Bellinger from Group B who now has 4 homers (6 happy HR Derby managers), Corey Seager from Group E (2 happy managers), Joc Pederson from Group C hit 2 and has 3 total (No happy managers), and Enrique Hernandez hit 2 for Group E (3 happy managers). All of those homers lead to 12 runs on Opening Day. Two days later, they dropped 18 runs on the D-Backs and Russel Martin pitched a 1-2-3 9th inning to end the game. Yup, we already had a position player throw an inning in 2019.
  • Goldy hit 3 homers in a game – That should put the Cardinal fans’ minds at ease. Many may have been worried about the money being tossed around for a 1B not named Albert Pujols. But on Friday, Goldy smashed 3 homers to get the Cardinals their first (and only) win of 2019. He didn’t wait long to hit his 4th home run and share of the lead in Group B. Who knows, maybe that switch to a better division is going to boost is overall numbers and take him to an even more elite status.
  • The MLB Seniors Club is swatting Big Flies in 2019 – Some one might want to tell the MLB veterans that it isn’t 2010 anymore. Adam Jones has 2 home runs (4 managers chose him in Group D) which is crazy considering he hasn’t been with the team for more than 3 weeks. McCutchen has 2 homers which have 6 HR Derby managers ecstatic in Group E. Longoria and Troy Tulowitzki both have a homer (3 chose Longo, 1 chose Tulo). Hanley Ramirez even has a homer. I don’t think he even had an MLB at-bat in 2018.

There have already been more story lines in the last 4 days that I can even keep up with. The important ones are that the Yankees and Red Sox are at the bottom of their division, the Royals are leading the Central, the Mariners who are in rebuild mode are 5-1, the Phillies haven’t lost yet after spending all their money, the Padres are 3-1 leading the West, and most importantly, the Brewers are the only NL central team above 0.500. But the season is early. There are going to be many more story lines to follow. I’ll try to post more links and keep you up to date on stories as I can. But, don’t get too excited. Summer is coming which means I go absent on the site but at a minimum I will keep the Derby going.

Next up: An entire recap of the Kings of Cork Home Run Derby selections.

Category: Baseball News, Home Run Derby  Comments off

2019 Home Run Derby is Open For Business

Welcome back! Can you believe it’s the 9th season of Kings of Cork. It’s been a fun ride to get here and things have changed. But, even though the site isn’t as active as it once was, the 1 thing that has been constant is the Home Run Derby. Unfortunately, I’m getting a bit of a later start than usual. (I blame it on Harper dragging out Free Agency). And you, the fans, have made me well aware of that. There have been whispers and some clamoring about whether there would be a HR Derby this year.

But fear not, I have returned and I bring you the 2019 Home Run Derby Groups and more importantly:
The 2019 Home Run Derby Entry Form.

I’m not going to try to pull the wool over your eyes. Most of you know the drill and the tricks I play, but this year, just like last, you will not see an extension to the entry deadline. You have until March 25th at 6pm CT to submit an entry. After that, you will have to wait another year.

The rules haven’t changed. I mean, why fix what isn’t broke (plus, my creativity juices aren’t flowing). And the prizes and flights will again be determined after we finalize all the entries.

The entry form has links to all the players. I’ve tried to note which players who are still unsigned, who are stuck in the minors, and who are currently injured. But I’m not perfect. So it’s up to you to do the research and make sure you chose the best team.

After all of this record snow and cold this winter, I’m ready for some sun and baseball. Spring Training is in full swing, and its only a couple weeks until real baseball is back. So head on over to the entry form and start picking a team.

Category: Baseball News, Home Run Derby  Comments off

And So It Begins… 2018 Starts With a BANG!!

Wow… wow… So we all know that the Marlins are bad. I mean Jeter cleaned house down there (Brewers fans rejoice!). He not only let go of all of his talent, he fired the Mascot, and he let the Marlins biggest fan, Marlins Man, go to Free Agency to find a new team.

But did we ever expect Ian Happ to open the season with a monster Home Run on the FIRST pitch of the season. Obviously, a lot of you think Ian Happ is going to do great things in the Home Run department this season at the top of the Cubs lineup (more on the group selections later). But no way, you all thought the first pitch of the season was going to go over the wall. That was the first time since like 1986 when Dwight Evans did it.

Opening days other major story line, which also ties to Miami, wasn’t a let down either. Stanton’s first AB as a Yankee also saw the ball leave the yard. And then he did it a 2nd time later in the game. He’s on pace for 324 HR this season. And he may be the only player that can actually maintain that pace.

However, Stanton’s two homer game wasn’t the most impressive display of Homers on Opening Day. The Chicago WhiteSox, yes that isn’t a typo, the Chicago WhiteSox had a home run derby of their own on opening day with 6 homers. 6! And those 6 were hit between only 3 guys. Matt Davidson hit 3 of those homers. No one chose Matt Davidson… and yes, I actually put him in Group D. So he was actually a choice I gave you…

Derby News:
Thank you for putting up with a couple hours without the standings on Opening Day. It’s like a holiday for me, so I was out watching all the games with a group of guys and didn’t want to risk breaking the standings until I was sitting behind a computer to debug the inevitable problems.

Surprisingly, after about 4hrs of execution (real robust validation over here…), the standings look to be fully functional and it only took me 2hrs of debugging this year (2hrs is a HUGE success in my mind). The standings should be updating roughly every 15 minutes. If stats don’t look correct, give it a few minutes and refresh. If they still look wrong, the stats should get corrected by noon the next day. Just a reminder that the official stats are kept offline and are triple verified for accuracy. The online stats are just for convenience and my sanity of not having to manually update them.

If you are new, here’s a reminder on how the standings page works and how you can use the standings to see a bunch of different information (yes, the capabilities of the standings is much, much more than just finding your name).

As for the entries, we have succeeded in having more entries again for the 8th straight season (pending a few payments) and I’ve only been doing this for 8 seasons. It still impresses me how much excellent feedback you guys give me on wanting me to continue do this competition. Even with a year off, we still managed to have 107 contestants (this ties 2016 entries but we had a few forfeit their teams in April due to missing payment deadlines). So kudos to you for spreading the word on our fun little contest. I’m still debating on how to award the prizes this season, but I will continue to payout prizes through the entire standings, similar to what we did in 2016, and not just rewarding the very top teams.

I thought this season was the easiest for me to group players in a long time. It seemed like there were obvious tiers of power hitters.
But apparently, you all tend to like the same player in a lot of the groups (I’m guilty too this season in gravitating to player names versus the statistics). And for the first time in 8 seasons of the contest, we finally have a duplicate team selection. And not just 1, we have at least 2 duplicate team selections. And there may even a few more that I haven’t noticed but will become apparent as more and more ABs are taking this season.

Stanton, Trout, Hoskins, Ozuna was a very popular combination this year. 4 teams had some form of this combination. That may not sound like a lot but with over 9million+ combinations, that’s probably the most similar picks in 4 groups we have ever had. And if you did have this combination, you duplicated a team. Yes, of those 4 teams, there were only 2 group E selections… Ian Happ and Yasiel Puig.

The most popular selections in each group were: Giancarlo Stanton (51 teams), Mike Trout (34), Freddie Freeman (20), Marcell Ozuna (27), and Ian Happ (19). Let’s take a look at the selection breakdown per group:

Group A
What happens when you are the most powerful swinger and you have a full, healthy season? You hit 59 homers and then get traded to a home run friendly ball park and hit 2 homers on Opening Day. You also get chosen by almost 50% of the HR Derby contestants. Yes, Stanton leads group A by a long shot. The second most is no surprise either, his own teammate, Aaron Judge. We could see almost 120 home runs just between these two guys this season. The Yankees are going to be fun to watch (Whoa, did I just actually say that…). Every player in Group A got some love this season with no player getting snubbed by all team selections.

  • Stanton – 51
  • Judge – 24
  • Arenado – 17
  • Encarnacion – 4
  • Bellinger – 3
  • K.Davis/Gallo/Martinez – 2
  • Cruz/Donaldson – 1

Group B
I finally caved and put Trout and Harper down in Group B. Just looking at their past statistics and performances, they didn’t deserve to be in the top tier with the true power swingers from last season and seasons past. In doing so, almost 50% of the teams chose one of those 2 players. 1 in 3 teams choosing Trout. Goldy got the 3rd most selections. Apparently, 10 of you aren’t worried about the humidor in Arizona this season (is baseball really going to mandate humidors in all stadiums next season?!). And, much to my surprise, the Cubs fans prefer Bryant over Rizzo… 9 to 7. Jay Bruce get 0 selections from Group B… no love for a guy who has hit over 30 homers in 5 seasons in his career.

  • Trout – 34
  • Harper – 14
  • Goldschmidt – 10
  • Bryant – 9
  • Rizzo – 7
  • Sano – 6
  • Schwarber – 5
  • Dozier/Machado/Votto – 3
  • Cespedes/Duda/Sanchez/Springer/Abreu – 2
  • C.Davis/Frazier/Upton – 1
  • Bruce – 0

Group C
Half of the teams chose one of the following 3 players: Blackmon (23), Freeman (20), Hoskins (18). Hoskins put on a display of power late last season and people took notice. But some of you may have forgotten of the even more impressive display of power late in 2017 by Matt Olson, as only 3 gambled on that youngster. Youth powers Group C choices as we see a lot of our aging stars not getting many selections (Granderson/Jones/Morales/Napoli/Pujols/HanRam/Seager/Trumbo).

  • Blackmon – 23
  • Freeman – 20
  • Hoskins – 18
  • Correa – 11
  • Lamb – 7
  • Morrison – 6
  • Jones/Olson/Smoak/Thames – 3
  • Dickerson/Myers – 2
  • Bour/Morales/Pujols/Ramirez/D.Santana/K.Seager – 1
  • Bautista/Conforto/Napoli/Trumbo – 0

Group D
As the groups keep expanding with more and more selections, the choices should start to distribute more and more. Group D isn’t an exception except there is a major distribution between only 3 guys before the field becomes much more selective. Ozuna got a whopping 27 picks in Group D. Did I screw up in his grouping? Am I biased because he plays for the Cardinals? Am I skeptical of his 37 homer season last year after never topping 23 previously? I don’t know, but after watching his ABs yesterday, he did not look very good… at all. Hopefully he and the 27 teams that chose him proves me wrong.

Moose coming back to KC, after failing at free agency, got 16 of you excited. And 7 of you like the odds of Mookie Betts repeating his success in Boston this season. We are all probably very lucky that we didn’t play in 2017, because most of us would have probably gotten burned on Trevor Story’s elite 2016. Only 5 managers were even willing to risk their selections on him in Group D this season.

  • Ozuna – 27
  • Moustakas – 16
  • Betts – 7
  • DeJong/Lindor/Shaw/Story – 5
  • Braun/McCutchen/Odor/Schoop/C.Seager – 4
  • Baez/Zimmerman – 3
  • Gattis/Grichuk – 2
  • Beltre/Cano/Cargo/Moreland/J.Ramirez/Souza – 1
  • Bell/Belt/Cabrera/Davidson/Franco/Kemp/McCann/Mesoraco/Pearce/Renfroe/Reynolds/C.Santana – 0

Group E
Ah, the write-in group. This is my favorite group. Why?! Because I really enjoy seeing the people who write-in a guy that I decided to not include on the list. It makes me have to research the guy and understand what you may see in that player that I didn’t see. We had a few people write-in Ohtani, which I would love to see the Japanese Babe Ruth succeed from both sides of the plate. But after a disastrous Spring Training, those few teams rightfully backed out of the selection.

We did have 16 teams go off script and choose players that weren’t originally listed: Acuna, T.Beckham, Bird, Broxton, Buxton, Carpenter, Chapman, Devers (2), Kipnis, Mazara, McMahon, Pham, Pollock, Soler, Yelich.

Otherwise, the Cubs fans really dominated by coming through with an alarming 20 picks for Ian Happ. I’ll be honest, I hope I’m the one that is right by putting him in Group E. But after yesterday and all the hype the media is giving him, I think I may have been wrong for including him this low. Jose Altuve was popular with 13 after he lit up the scoreboard last season. How does a guy that is so small have so much pop?! Castellanos (8), Sir Didi (8), and Puig were also popular picks in Group E when you could have chosen almost anyone in the MB player universe.

  • Happ – 20
  • Altuve – 13
  • Castellanos/Gregorious – 8
  • Puig – 7
  • Contreras/Rosario – 5
  • Rendon – 4
  • Longoria/Schebler – 3
  • Devers/Gyorko/Hosmer/Pham/Zunino – 2
  • Alonso/Calhoun/Choo/Grandal/Healy/Murphy/Suarez/J.Turner – 1

Write-in:
Acuna/T.Beckham/Bird/Broxton/Buxton/Carpenter/Chapman – 1
Kipnis/Mazara/McMahon/Pollock/Doler/Yelich – 1

Category: Baseball News, Home Run Derby, Site News  Comments off

Kings of Cork is BACK!!!!!!!!!!!!

The bad news always comes first in my household because it makes the good news that much better…

So the bad news:
In 2017, we set so many records for home runs that it would have been really fun to play some Home Run Derby. I mean, Aaron Judge hit 52 homers. That’s probably 32 more than I would have projected and he would have been a Group E player. A move like that hasn’t happened since Jose Bautista came from nowhere in 2010 and hit 54 homers after topping out at like 15 homers per year.

But now the good news:
The Kings of Cork Home Run Derby will be returning for 2018!!! I heard so much complaining, and grumbling, and whining that there was no home run derby last season that you guys made my 3 yr old look like a quiet, politely asking saint. You gave ‘tantrum’ a whole new definition.

I will not commit to any sort of regular blog posts. Nor will I commit to any sort of confidence in the live updating standings (did you see ESPN was crediting guys for like 10 home runs in 2 at-bats through 7 innings last season? Their stats just didn’t make any sense). I will commit to getting Home Run player groupings posted by March 11, as long as you commit to playing another season after a 1 yr hiatus.

Yes, put a reminder on your calendars right now. March 11 is the date that you can come back and submit your roster to once again become the King (or Queen) of Cork!

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2017 Kings of Cork Home Run Derby Cancelled

Yes, you unfortunately read that title correctly. There will not be a Kings of Cork Home Run Derby this year.

Due to life/adulting, I have not been able to manage enough time to get a home run derby set up this year.

I truly and honestly hope that it is only a 1 year hiatus. I have received numerous emails from the fans asking the status, so I know there is still an overwhelming amount of interest in the contest that has been running for 7 seasons. It amazes me how many people continued to play and show interest for such a ‘simple contest’. I hope this year off allows me to build a more robust standings so that it allows me to have to spend fewer hours fixing it and more hours enjoying baseball/adulting…

Sorry for the bad news.

-The Commish

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Week 1, 2016: What A Story!

Wow. Week 1 of 2016 feels very different than Week 1 in years past. I mean, The Offense… Wow!! No pitcher was safe the first week. Big names got lit-up, no names got lit-up. There have been less than 10 days of baseball and already there have been already 233 home runs!

The current league leader? Trevor Story
What?! You don’t know who that is. Well, one of our Home Run Derby managers did and he is currently riding the hot streak as his write-in candidate (more on the Derby later). Trevor Story has hit 7 home runs in the Rockies first 7 games. And it has been quit impressive to watch. He’s hitting fastballs, sliders, curveballs out of the zone. He is one of the Rockies top prospects and got an opportunity when Jose Reyes was suspended by Major League Baseball (what a fall from grace that guy has had). Story can’t keep up this pace, but it sure is exciting to watch at the moment.

And what about those Cubbies. This is ‘the’ year… or so I’m told. But they lost a key piece on day 2 of the season. Kyle Schwarber went down with a torn ACL after colliding with the Fowler in the outfield. The experiment of him in leftfield didn’t last long and he will now sit out for the remainder of the season (sorry to the 2 managers that selected him in the Derby). But the Cubs are still in first place at 6-1.

There are no teams that haven’t lost and there are two teams who haven’t won (thank god it’s not the Brewers). The Orioles were the last unbeaten but lost on Wednesday to go to 7-1. Versus the Braves and Twins who are 0-8 and I’m not sure they plan on winning any time soon.

Other interesting notes from Week 1:

  • The new interference slide rule has been interesting to watch. Two games ended on an interference call (Brewers got a win thanks to one) where neither slide looked that bad but the players did break the rules per the writing of the rule. It will be interesting to see if the writings change.
  • The Dodgers pulled a rookie pitcher in his first career start when he had a no-hitter intact. Ross Stripling hit 100 pitches and hadn’t allowed a hit through 7.1 innings. But he is coming off Tommy John and his limit was 100 pitches prior to the game… A no-hitter by a rookie in his first appearance hasn’t occurred since 1892 when Bumpus Jones did it (Note: Bumpus is a great name to save for my second son).
  • Robinson Cano is looking like a Yankee hitting into the short porch again. He hit 4 homers in the first 3 games for Seattle but has cooled off again but that’s still the best in Group C of the Derby so far.
  • Kenta Maeda, the Dodgers rookie pitcher from Japan, pitched well in his first professional game. But it wasn’t his pitching that people were talking about. Maeda slammed a home run in his second at-bat. I love pitchers batting for the strategy and the entertainment. #JustSayNoToDH
  • And lastly, Harper stole my HR Derby team name. But I’m willing to vote for him this fall when compared to my other choices…

Derby Update:
Well, I battled Google again the entire first week to get our player stats updating correctly. But I’ve out smarted them, at least for now. So the standings should be updating roughly every 15 minutes. If stats don’t look correct, give it a few minutes and refresh. If they still look wrong, the stats should get corrected by noon the next day. Just a reminder that the official stats are kept offline and are triple verified for accuracy. The online stats are just for convenience and my sanity of not having to manually update them.

As for the entries, we have succeeded in having more entries again for the 7th straight season (pending a few payments) and I’ve only been doing this for 7 seasons. So that’s kind of awesome. Right now we are sitting at 107 contestants and roughly 20% of those teams are first time participants. So kudos to you for spreading the word on our fun little contest. I’m also saving a bit of a twist this season, but I won’t announce that until the beginning of May. So be on the look out for that announcement.

Also for the 7th consecutive year, we don’t have a duplicate team selection. This still boggles my mind. I know there are something like 9million+ combinations but there are only so many players that are typically selected in each category and this season was no different. Let’s take a look at the selection breakdown per group:

Group A
This is a much more diverse group A than last season. The most common player chosen isn’t even on 1 out of every 4 teams which is Stanton at less than 25%. Chris Davis in Baltimore surprised me at being the 2nd most selected. And then Harper and Trout are neck and neck which I’m sure if they followed our contest would just add fuel to the rivalry between them. And then there is Ortiz, who got 0 love from us for his retirement campaign. Adios DH.

  • Stanton – 26
  • Davis – 19
  • Harper – 18
  • Trout – 15
  • Abreu – 6
  • Cruz/Donaldson/Rizzo – 5
  • Goldschmidt – 4
  • Bautista – 3
  • Encarnacion – 1
  • Ortiz – 0

Group B
I’ll be honest. I was very afraid when the first entries started to trickle in this season because it felt like I saw Arenado on every entry in group B. In reality, he’s only on about 1 out of every 3 teams. Followed by Bryant riding the Cubs fan-wagon. Then there is a steep drop to either young upside players or proven veterans. Unfortunately for 2 teams (This Is The Year and Billy The Goats), they will have to use their trade on April 26th to replace Schwarber. Most surprising to not get a single selection, the hottest Group E player a season ago, Joc Pederson. I guess people didn’t like his K, BB, or HR mentality at the plate.

  • Arenado – 34
  • Bryant – 22
  • Sano – 9
  • Cargo – 8
  • Cabrera/Martinez – 6
  • Cespedes/Frazier – 5
  • Pujols – 4
  • Correa/Machado/Schwarber – 2
  • Alvarez/Park – 1
  • Carter/Duda/Gattis/Jones/Pederson/Arod/Springer/Teixeira – 0

Group C
This by far is the most difficult group. Do you go with the mediocre power hitter who showcased more power once or do you go with the declining veteran? Obviously based on the selections below, no one has the right answer. Their are no real standout surprises below, but I’m sure the 2 teams (1907, 1908, 2016 World Champs… and Toad Frazier who selected Cano are liking their choice right now with 5 homers.

  • McCutchen – 13
  • Dozier/Upton – 11
  • Trumbo/Votto – 8
  • A.Gonzalez – 7
  • Bruce/Fielder/Granderson – 6
  • Seager – 5
  • Braun – 4
  • Bour/Davis/Tulo – 3
  • Cano/Puig/Rasmus – 2
  • Gallo/Howard/Kemp/Longoria/McCann/Moreland/Valbuena – 1
  • Hamilton/LaRoche/Moss/Pollock/HanRam – 0

Group D
Ah, yes, Group D. The group that harbors the catchers, the fallen stars, and the high ceiling young unproven players. This is always a crap shoot. Just throw a dart and hope you get lucky. Franco had a huge Spring Training so I’m a little surprised by him only being chosen by 10 teams. But I’m sure the 1 team who chose Dickerson (Trasky) and the other who chose Souza (Zizzer-Zazzer-Zuzz) is really liking their selections at the moment.

  • Grichuk – 15
  • Calhoun – 13
  • Franco/Freeman – 10
  • Posey – 7
  • Beltre/Conforto/Crawford – 4
  • Beltran/Holliday/Marte/Morales/Smoak/Soler – 3
  • Baez/Betts/Byrd/Gomez/Pence/C.Santana/Seager/Souza/Zimmerman – 2
  • Belt/Dickerson/Napoli/Wieters – 1
  • Desmond/Mesoraco/Pearce/Reynolds/Singleton – 0

Group E
For the first time in our 7 year history, more than 15% of the teams wrote in a player that wasn’t on my original list. And 2 of those write-ins were the 4th and 5th most popular selections in the group (Chris Carpenter and Domingo Santana). The best choice in Group E thus far (who was also a write-in)… Trevor Story who was selected by PEDispensers and is riding the league leader in HR to the top of the current Derby standings.

  • Moustakas – 18
  • Heyward – 13
  • Hosmer – 10
  • Plouffe – 9
  • Carpenter – 7
  • D. Santana – 6
  • Cron/Vmart/Reddick/Schoop – 4
  • D’Arnaud/Garcia/Kang/C.Perez/Valencia/Werth/Story/Buxton – 1
  • Guerrero/Gomes/Gyorko/Hart/Headley/Kim/Lind/Morse/Tomas/Young – 0

Most unique team selection once again goes to Manager H. Stovall and the team of My Husband and his Alter Egos. They chose assembled and entire team of players with the name of Carlos or Curtis as a tribute to their husbands alter ego. A very close second goes to Zizzer-Zazzer-Zuzz managed by K. Wolf who only selected players with Z’s in their name.

The season has just begun and I can’t wait for the rest of the summer baseball!

Category: Baseball News, Home Run Derby  Comments off

The Home Run Derby Is Back For 2016

*YAAAAAAAWN* *STRRRRRRRRRRREEEETCH*

Wow, that was a great winter hibernation. Let me log in here to the World Wide Web and see whats been going on in the baseball world…. WHAAAAAATTTT?!?!?!?!

  • The Cubs purchased away Lackey and Heyward from the Cardinals?!
  • The Yankees added Aroldis Chapman to an already elite pair of closers?!
  • The Diamondbacks are buying big names?!
  • The Giants are stocking up on pitching again for their normal even years World Series?!
  • The Padres cleaned house after going bankrupt in 2015?!
  • The Brewers have traded away every starting player in 2015 except 1 OF, their 2B, their Catcher (yet), and 3 SP?!

It’s going to be a loooooong summer for ma and all other Brewer fans…

Well, at least I have the 2016 Kings of Cork Home Run Derby to look forward to!!!

That’s right we are back for our 7th season. Rules are the same. Pick a total of 5 guys from the predetermined groups, and if your team hits the most home runs combined, you are crowned THE King/Queen of Cork! All you have to do is go here and click the submit button (deadline is March 27th).

I’m excited to be hosting the contest yet again and can’t wait for the sounds of the cracking bats, the smells of the grills, and the tastes of the $10 beers. This may be the only baseball I look forward to as I watch the Brewers lose 100 games in order to rebuild. How many of you will join me?

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